The dispute between London restaurant group Corbin and King and majority shareholder Minor International has escalated, with Minor placing the restaurants’ holding company into administration. In a statement, it emphasised that “the appointment of administrators does not affect the operations of the restaurants within the Group, which continue to trade.”
They include the Wolseley, Brasserie Zedel, Colbert, and Fischer’s — among some of the most fondly thought of in the city. Eater has contacted Jeremy King, who has described the move as a “power play,” for comment on the development. King said that he and business partner Chris Corbin plan to “buy back” the holding company out of administration. Reports of a permanent exit from the group for the duo are wide of the mark.
Minor International says the decision is “for the benefit of all of the company’s stakeholders, to find a pragmatic way forward.” Its chief executive officer, Dillip Rajakarier, referenced an outstanding £35 million loan which the shareholder provided to support the group through Covid-19 disruption:
“The loans have been in default since May 2020 and we are required to act in the best interest of the company’s stakeholders. Contrary to the picture that Mr King is trying to paint, the business is insolvent and is in strong need of further financial support.” The company added that it is willing to provide that support.
But when asked to confirm whether or not the “creditors” cited in the statement were entirely, or in the majority referring to Monor International itself, a spokesperson confirmed that “the creditors include Minor above all.”
As such, the company is simultaneously attempting to recoup a £35 milion loan and has appointed administrators to do so, while also offering further money to the group it wishes to retrieve money from. When asked for comment on the end-game for administration in the light of the offer of further capital, it declined to coment.
This is part of a long running dispute between Corbin and King and Minor International over strategy which Jeremy King first publicly detailed in November 2021. The two parties were disagreeing over the state of the London restaurant market and also expansion plans.
This dispute looks unlikely to end soon; for now, it does not affect some of London’s best-loved restaurants.